Hong Kong ePrix: Evans leads practice as Buemi hits the wall

Jaguar’s Mitch Evans set the pace in practice for the opening round of the 2017/18 Formula E season in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong ePrix: Evans leads practice as Buemi hits the wall
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After finishing its debut FE season last of the 10 teams in the championship, Jaguar predicted a significant step forward for the coming campaign.

Evans fired an early indicator of its progress with the second-fastest time in opening practice, albeit 0.466s off Sebastien Buemi’s pace in a session that featured few full-power efforts.

In FP2, Evans improved considerably as the chequered flag dropped in his I-type 2 to post a 1m02.875s – the only driver to dip below the 1m13s barrier.

Reigning FE champion Lucas di Grassi threatened to topple Evans immediately with a new fastest first sector, but backed off in the second sector.

That raised suspicions Evans may have ignored yellow flags, particularly as di Grassi completed the lap by setting the fastest final sector.

“The car’s felt pretty good since FP1,” said Evans. “I managed to put it together for the second run.

“There was a bit of confusion with yellow flags.

“I’m feeling good but we can only take so much from practice, it’s qualifying when it counts.”

Di Grassi’s Audi Sport Abt teammate Daniel Abt grabbed second at the last moment, dumping the Brazilian to third, with Oliver Turvey (NIO) and Nick Heidfeld (Mahindra) completing the top five within half a second of Evans.

FP1 pacesetter Buemi did not set a 200kW lap in the second session after locking up at the Turn 6 hairpin and hitting the wall.

That damaged his Renault’s steering slightly, although he continued with that car to save his other Z.E.17 for qualifying.

Buemi’s team-mate Nico Prost suffered a stoppage in the first session that was rectified by a battery reset, while FE debutant Edoardo Mortara suffered an on-track stoppage in FP2 and found himself stranded in his Venturi.  

Porsche’s LMP1 drivers-turned-FE rookies Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer both slapped the wall exiting Turn 10 in the first session.

Jani’s hit left his Dragon-run car with deranged front-right suspension and also necessitated a battery change, while Techeetah driver Lotterer clouted the right-rear but got away with just a broken wishbone.

Andretti’s late call-up Kamui Kobayashi set the 14th-fastest time in FP2, ending the session a very respectable 1.4s off the pace – albeit 0.7s slower than team-mate Antonio Felix da Costa.

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